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  • Writer's pictureMarilyn Santiago

“Antes Muerta Que Sencilla”

Why Latinas are always on point when it comes to fashion and beauty? Let me ask you a few questions; When you go out, does it normally take you longer to get ready than most of your friends? Do you own more than one shade of red lipstick? More than one shade of any color of lipstick? Do you often try to match your shoes with your purse and belt? Do you pick your clothes for any occasion depending on who are you going to see or if you previously wore them and someone saw you? Do you practice in front of the mirror, the styles you see online to make them your own? And do you have issues with what will you be wearing, even when you have a full closet, still you feel like you have nothing to wear.

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, chances are that you are Latina! We can be so demanding when it comes to beauty and fashion!

Fact. A Latina walks into a room, and all eyes will be on her. Why?

Because we look good! There’s something special about us, we present ourselves well. We are the full package. Clothes, accessories, we smell good. Our hair did, our confident strut, we shake our money maker and we turn heads!

One day, I was with my BFF/hairdresser and saw this lady, maybe in her 40’s. She was wearing a simple dress. Nothing fancy. Nice hairdo. Makeup; foundation, mascara, lipstick. My friend praised her. So simple, so on point.

Then I realized that it’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it! I became responsible for the way I looked and if I looked good, I automatically became more confident. Fast forward, almost every day, someone will approach me and praise either my look, see, people notice Latinas got style and that is awesome!!!

Our fashion sense is a defining element of our being, of our culture. Now, have you ever asked yourself, why’s that?

I’ll tell you why, to me, it’s a matter of genetics! It’s in our history, in our DNA. Latinas are born to be fabulous!

Latinas are amongst the highest spenders on fashion and beauty.

We take care of ourselves. In one of the most famous adages of our culture, no matter where you come from, the phrase; “Antes muerta que sencilla“ is “better dead than simple“ resonates in all of us.

From a very early age, we, our mothers, our abuelitas have been educated to look good. It’s true! All that fashion wisdom, they kept passing it all along. Sadly in the past, women were polished to become the perfect wife, but that alone is a topic we will discuss further on.

As a little girl, I fondly remember conversations between the ladies of my family, every Sunday afternoon, gathered in the backyard, playing lotería. I remember the laughter, jokes, oh the conversations. They could be talking about anything, but if any sobrina or daughter came to say goodbye, oh the scrutiny those poor ladies were subject of, oh pobrecitas, them tias were ruthless haha.

I can still hear them, you’re going out with your boyfriend looking like that, Ay Dios mio!

I myself lived a few episodes where I had to go back and change, just to pass the señora’s scrutiny. But now as I reminisce, I’m glad I went through all that.

Because honestly, I can proudly say that I am indeed a pretty fabulous and stylish woman and, I owe most of it to my viejitas! Be honest here, will you feel relaxed if you go out not wearing clean, good underwear, por si acaso we face an emergency, an accident, right? I know I won’t lol.

I am older than most of you guys reading this. Growing up in the last century, although I am happy that my stupid actions (and they were many) while growing up are not embodied in any corner of the dark web, as you'll be concerned, I must say that nowadays the younger generations have it easier, at least when it comes to fashion and beauty.

For example; in the 50’s I learned from my mother and tias that the most notable trends in fashion were dresses tight on the waist, full skirts, maybe with a can slip, and bottom puffier, enhancing the silhouette. For them to create the look, if they could not afford the can slip or the puffy skirts, they had to build their slips with wood and wire mesh like the ones used in the hen houses! Talk about comfort ouch!

And About the hair, if they could not afford to visit the beauty salon often, or they had no rollers and hair dryers, I remember my mother telling me that they used cans of salchichas (Vienna sausages) as rollers to create the curls. Any item in the household had the potential of becoming a beauty product.

The flat irons we use now, did you know that it all started with a woman with curly hair trying to flat out her hair using the house’s iron? I’m telling you, it wasn’t easy to be fabulous in the early days, haha, but still, they made it happen.

I will always bet on my fabulous Latinas! We create our trends, we will pay more attention to the whole look and own it. For us Latinas, it's more about how we feel all along. I love that about us. Whatever the style may be, we will own it. Think of all the trends we have created, even without realizing it. And that’s awesome!

As you can see, through the ages, Latinas have proved their resilience, not only in beauty and fashion but in anything life throws at them. As long as we are always on point… “antes muerta que sencilla"!


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